Three blocks of bungalows turned into bars and restaurants
This street that is filled with bars and restaurants that are housed in converted bungalow homes has become a hub of Austin's nightlife and dining scenes. If you see a bar that catches your eye, be sure to stop by, but these are some of our favorites: Bar Ilegal is a hidden, candlelit mezcal bar, Icenhauer's is a casual spot with fun bands on Sundays, Lucille is a cozy spot with a great patio, Half Step has high quality cocktails, and Craft Pride has one of the best craft beer selections in the city. And while Rainey Street is known primarily as a drinking destination, it is also home to some incredible restaurants including: L’Estelle House for French-American bites and wine on tap, Banger's for sausage, beer and an incredible outdoor space, Via 313 for Detroit-style pizza, and Emmer & Rye for incredible, small plates at a casual, fine dining spot.
Massive flagship store for more than just groceries
This Austin based company has grown a lot since it was founded in 1980 and this 80,000 square foot flagship store is a great representation of that. It is like a normal Whole Foods store, but on (all natural) steroids, with a range of groceries, beauty products, clothes, and more. In addition to all of that, it is home to seven eateries and bars, they host events on their rooftop (which is also a great place to eat your food), and have cooking classes available. Swing by for lunch before heading over to the nearby BookPeople and Waterloo Records.
Congress Ave. Bridge Bats
Austin's resident bats put on a show each night at sunset
Around sunset from late March through early October, the Mexican free-tailed bats fly out of their nests under the Congress Avenue Bridge to find food, putting on a show for the city to enjoy. There are many ways to view the bats: you can stand on the bridge itself, you can look up from the grassy area on the southeast side of the bridge next to the Austin American-Statesman parking lot, you can stand on the viewing platform below the northeast end of the bridge, or you can watch from a kayak or boat as part of a bat watching tour. No matter where you watch from, arrive before sunset to claim your spot because it can get crowded and in warmer months the bats can start flying before the sun has fully set.
Largest independent bookstore in Texas
This beloved local institution with three floors of books and a cafe inside has been voted Austin's favorite bookstore since 1984. Stop by to pick up a new book, grab a coffee, or attend one of their frequent author events.
One of Austin's top venues with indoor and outdoor stages
This Red River Street spot hosts killer shows by emerging Austin musicians on its large outdoor stage as well as on its more intimate indoor stage. Even with the stiff competition around town, this multi-level spot with strong drinks and cheap beer is truly one of the best music venues in Austin.
Austin Central Library
Gorgeous library that has books and much more
This stunning piece of architecture that overlooks Lady Bird Lake is about community as much as it is about books. There are reading porches with rooftop seating overlooking Lady Bird Lake if you want to read, get work done, or just take in the views. On the second floor, check out the small gallery space that houses temporary art exhibits. If you need a little refreshment, Cookbook Bar and Cafe has meals made from recipes found in the pages of iconic cookbooks, literary themed cocktails, and demonstrations from touring food authors. If you want to delve deeper, they offer tours on Thursdays and Saturdays at 12:30. Registration begins at noon at the docent station located on the 2nd floor.